Cure Back To School Blues The Buddha Way
- Thursday, 15 September 2011
September means back to school for kids and teens and also marks the end of summer let down for everyone else. The ending of anything is a great measure of our attachment to it, how long we grieve, complain or feel anxiety about the closing of something is a great indicator of how hard we are holding on to it.
The Buddhists have a wonderful four steps or “noble truths” as they are called which can help us to cope with the summer goodbye among other things. I have explained them in digestible chunks that may be helpful to those of us struggling with change, moving on or simply resisting what is now.
The first step is accepting that life is not perfect and it doesn’t need to be. Accept the reality of each situation that meets you instead of living in the past or future. Instead of dreading the end of warm weather, accept what is in front of you today – there is freedom in getting out of denial. The less we fight how things actually are instead of how we wish/want/imagine them to be the faster we will get to our goals and dreams. Life is here to challenge us and accepting this fact frees us from unrealistic expectations.
The second step is realizing that most of our struggle comes from always desiring. It is exhausting always wanting something because inevitably you cannot get everything you want and then disappointment follows soon after. Our expectation that life should be perfect and we should get everything we want when we want it eliminates the possibility for surprise, spontaneity and divinity in our lives. Not to seem pessimistic, but setting intentions then letting them go and being open to all kinds of miracles is very different from always wanting what we don’t have. Sheryl Crowe says in one her song lyrics; “It’s not having what you want. It’s wanting what you’ve got.”
The third step is letting go of our attachments. Sometimes we need to do something to acknowledge the passing of a season, a birthday, or a new stage in life. Grieving is appropriate and commemorating the ending can help give us closure to be able to move on. We must mature spiritually to the understanding that nothing is “ours” we don’t own summer or childhood or any relationships, the circumstances and consequences of our lives are in constant change and are “on loan” to us until further notice. The more we can practice this idea on a daily basis, the more we will train ourselves to embrace change and enjoy the moment instead of fearing an imminent time in the future or past where we think we would be happier.
Finally the fourth and final step is to follow a balanced path that keeps us on the right track. Incorporating fun, exercise, meditation, kindness, compassion and some self-care in our everyday lives helps to keep us in equilibrium. We are less likely to be in denial about the present, get overly attached to any one thing, or to desire more than we have if we are feeding ourselves a nurturing emotional diet of self-love. This is the best weapon we have against change because as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “You can’t step into the same river twice”.